Garden Answers (UK) - - News - Liz Pot­ter Edi­tor

Mid­win­ter rep­re­sents a chal­lenge for any gar­dener. Most of us strug­gle to find in­ter­est in our bor­ders once au­tumn’s spent flower stems are start­ing to look bedrag­gled, but – amaz­ingly – there are still plenty of flow­ers to en­joy at this time of year. With witch hazel, win­ter aconites, snow­drops and Helle­borus niger in bloom this month, it’s a good time to visit the gar­den cen­tre or nurs­ery and stock up on those good-look­ing plants for pots and other empty spots. If you can create some colour in the gar­den at this time of year, you’ve pretty much won the bat­tle! For more heart-warm­ing ideas this Fe­bru­ary, on page 14 we look at the plants that can bring a lit­tle win­ter ro­mance into your gar­den. No, we’re not talk­ing about turn­ing the vibur­num into an al fresco canoodling spot – it’s far too cold! In­stead, we’re look­ing for ways to create a bit of at­mos­phere, mak­ing the most of sea­sonal mists, dainty crys­tals of frost and bursts of ‘Ar­maged­don sun­light’ against a bruised, snow-laden sky. With all this as a back­drop, it’s time to un­leash the po­etry of your gar­den, us­ing tac­tile plants, heady scent and del­i­cate, pas­tel-coloured flow­ers. What could be more up­lift­ing? Our reader gardens this month are all ex­cel­lent ex­am­ples of how to make the most of this dif­fi­cult sea­son: us­ing struc­ture, ev­er­greens, bulbs and flow­er­ing shrubs to keep the gar­den alive. And don’t for­get grasses – on page 50 owner Kate Pa­tel has cre­ated an amaz­ing ter­race of bleached-blonde grasses and sil­very nepeta just out­side her kitchen win­dow. Now here’s some­one who knows how to create po­etry with plants!

A FINE RO­MANCE Frost, ice and sun­lit grasses add at­mos­phere, p14; fra­grant Prunus mume

‘Beni-chi­dori’ flow­ers in late Fe­bru­ary, p18

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